Eric Floc was a sad man.
He was so very sad that flowers would wilt in his presence. Birds would cease to brighten the mornings with their chirping, and the sun seemed to dim and hide its glowing face behind a cloud at the mere mention of his name.
Yes indeed, Eric Floc was a very, very sad man.
Eric was not a clever man. He was not a rich man. He was not a handsome man. Now in his mid-to-late 40’s, with hair already receded halfway over his shining dome, Eric Floc had not accomplished a great deal in his life.
He’d had a good crack at learning the saxophone a few years ago, but this idea eventually fizzled out of reality when the landlady of his apartment, Mrs Furtz, told him in rather explicit terms (terms that I shall henceforth censor, lest I spoil your youthful innocence) that if he didn’t ‘f***ing’ shut up with that ‘f***ing saxo-f***ing-phone’ she was going to, and I quote, ‘f***ing roger’ him with said instrument.
Understandably, Eric took this to imply that his musical career was destined to languish in insignificance, as he rather preferred himself ‘un-rogered.’
Every morning he would wake up at exactly 6:30 AM, trudge to the kitchen of his one bedroom apartment and pour himself a bowl of Marlon Brand-O’s (widely regarded as the saddest and most pathetic of all the celebrity-endorsed bran-based looped cereals) before leaving his apartment to once more engage in the never-ending futile grind of his tedious job. To be most definitely sure, a sadder man, you shall never know.
And that is why you will find the events that transpired on the 28th of Novemeber 1994 will prove to be most interesting.
Most interesting indeed.
It was a Monday. A drizzly Monday. Monday the 28th November 1994, to be precise. The grey precipitation-laden clouds hung limply over the sky, a hat of misfortune, upon the downtrodden head of misery. Eric Floc awoke. 6:30 AM. Trudged to the Kitchen. Bowl of Marlon Brand-O’s. Off to work.
He worked at Johnson, Johnson & McMillingtonstone Solicitors. JJ&M had a nationwide reputation. They were, for all intents and purposes, the laughingstock of the financial system. Eric was one of the prosecution attorneys, and had garnered quite a reputation for himself.
He was weak, ineffectual, with a tendency to fumble the easiest, most straightforward of cases in a truly spectacular fashion. Serial killers, drug overlords, and even a well-respected government official found in a hotel room snorting crack cocaine with two dozen Korean hookers were all let off the hook thanks to Eric’s sheer incompetence. It was truly spectacular to watch him fail.
Eric's Monday had been fairly standard, as Eric’s Mondays go. Missed his bus. Drenched by a passing car as he waited at the bus stop for the next one. Verbally accosted during his 40-minute commute by a raving drunk he knew only as ‘Mad Gerald’. And inevitably, left his lunch at home on the kitchen table.
With a heavy sigh, Eric Floc slumped into his small broken chair at his small dusty desk in his small dingy office with his small withered ficus. A bulging red-cheeked face appeared at the door. It was the lead attorney, Eric’s boss, Mr Montgomery Charles McMillingtonstone - a preposterously gargantuan man; magnanimous in aura, regal in accent, prolific in body odour.
“Congratulations, Mr Floc.”
The booming voice reverberated throughout the office walls. Eric eyed the picture of a smiling cat that was suspended from the adjacent wall, quietly wondering to himself whether or not Mr McMillingtonstone’s voice was sufficiently boisterous enough so as to cause the nail on which the picture hung precariously to work itself loose from the wall, sending the picture tumbling to its inexorable end. Eric snapped his head back to the man who, in stepping towards his desk - waves of body fat undulating across his abdomen like the swells of the ocean - had derailed his train of thought. Mr McMillingtonstone continued.
“Congratulations on becoming the first of our attorneys to go an entire year without winning a single case. That is truly a remarkable achievement.” Eric’s eyes fell to his desk, and his shoulders slumped.
“Goodness gracious, man. You’re pathetic. You’ve got a week to ship up, or ship out!”
Mr McMillingtonstone turned with a sneer, and stomped from the office, with elephantine elegance, slamming the thin wooden door behind him.
The picture frame fell and smashed.
And that, boys and girls, was that.
Poor old Eric, poor old sad, dejected Eric simply, snapped.
Eric’s office window was wide open.
He felt the breeze ruffle the last remaining tufts of hair on his head as he fell. He smiled.
And Eric Floc was sad no more.
Mr McMillingtonstone woke in a cold sweat. He flustered and blustered and huffed and wheezed as he attempted to hoist his immense form into a relatively upright position in his bed, much like a tortoise rendered helpless when turned over onto its shell.
The wooden bedframe creaked, threatening to cast the large man into a sweaty flummoxed heap upon the floor. Once he was in a somewhat vertical position, he reached for his spectacles, tiny little pea-sized bifocals that only served to accentuate the vastness of his perpetually rosy face, and flicked on the small bedside lamp that sat forlornly on the dusty cabinet.
Stood completely in shadow, at the base of his bed was a figure.
“What the devil?!” bellowed Mr McMillingtonstone.
He twisted the lamp towards the base of his bed, but it seemed that the more light that fell upon the shadow, the darker it became.
“Who are you? State your business!” thundered the perspiring blob that wobbled with each word uttered from his drooling maw.
The figure approached. The light from the lamp caught the glimmer of a blade.
His death was slow and painful. His vocal chords were slashed, so he could only wheeze and gasp in agony as the figure cut into his flesh.
Lyndon West locked up his office, whistling merrily to himself. It had been a very, very good month. First off, that sad sack Eric finally stopped being a waste of an office and jumped ship. Literally. Second, that gelatinous glob of pompous arrogance had finally met a well-deserved end at the hands of some twisted criminal. One step closer to that management position he thought to himself. Soon it will be Johnson, Johnson & West. It had a certain ring to it.
He trotted merrily through the hallway, past the front desk, waving jovially at Marcy the receptionist, who regarded his apparent joy at the death of two colleagues with a look of distaste, through the double doors that served as the main entrance to JJ&M, and carefully across the road to his car. He had worked late that night, so dusk had begun to drape its deep blue cover across the sky, snuffing out the sun and moon, and leaving only the ever-so-faint twinkle of stars for celestial decoration.
Lyndon beeped the beeper and his car clicked open. He opened the driver side door, flung his briefcase inside with glee, and flung himself into the seat, closing the door and sliding into place in one fluid motion. He slid his key into the ignition and turned. The radio burst into life. Swing music.
Perfect thought Lyndon as he bopped along to the big band sound. He continued turning the key, waiting for the engine to jump into life. But nothing happened. Still bopping and scatting (rather terribly if I’m honest) he flounced back out of the car and towards the bonnet. Probably a loose spark plug or something. He popped the bonnet catch and propped it open.
Inside the engine, a dead bird was wedged firmly into one of the cylinders; it’s head seemingly crushed by one of the pistons. Maggots writhed in the fleshy pulp that oozed from the side of the decaying creature.
Lyndon retched, and flicked the bonnet hook down, letting the bonnet close with a loud crash.
He grumbled to himself, and traipsed around to the driver’s seat, muttering and moaning to himself. He flopped back down and fumbled the glove box open in search of the little business card his mechanic had given him. Quick phone call and I’m sure he’d have it sorted. Important business men like me don’t go around moving filthy dead animals!
Poor Lyndon West. If only he had taken a moment to check the back seat.
Maybe he would have seen the shadowy figure that had slipped quietly into the back seat when he was checking the engine.
The knife pierced his skin just below his Adam’s apple, pinning him to the back of the chair, gagging on his own blood.
The figure drew another knife, and continued cutting.
The doctors and investigators were baffled.
A double homicide. Both victims with extensive damage to the throat and neck. Lacerations across the entire body and face. No signs of any struggle at either crime scenes. No fingerprints, DNA samples or clothing fibres.
“Any possible leads, Dr Ramirez? Something for my boys to go on?” asked Officer Doughtry. A worried expression played across his brow. He removed his patrolman’s cap and brushed some imaginary lint from the peak.
“Nothing. Not a microbe. I’ve scoured every inch of these cadavers, and nothing. The criminal was either exceedingly clever, or was somehow able to perfectly remove all biological evidence of his presence.”
The doctor dug his hands deep into his pocket thoughtfully.
“Ugh,” grunted Doughtry. “Right, well, thanks anyway doc. Call the station if you get anything. Anything! Ok?”
The doctor nodded, and the officer left.
Ramirez sighed and surveyed the two corpses, lying on medical gurneys side-by-side. He removed a large bundle of keys from his lab coat pocket, and fumbled through them, searching for the keys to the cadaver storage cabinets. The hefty bundle wriggled free from his grip and tumbled towards the cold polished floor, landing with a metallic rattle that echoed through the lab. Ramirez cursed under his breath and squatted down to fetch the bunch.
He grasped the key ring, and straightened. He froze. It was suddenly so cold. He moved to reach for the thermostat that rested by the door, but found his legs wouldn’t respond. He tried to say what the… but discovered his larynx appeared to have seized up as well. He strained to reach his left arm up to his throat.
He felt the tip of the blade protruding half an inch or so from his skin.
He stumbled forwards, eyes streaming with pain, unable to call out for help. Blood pooled in the base of his throat, making him choke and heave violently. He collapsed backwards onto the third gurney that sat beside the two containing the corpses of Mr McMillingtonstone and Mr West. As his life ebbed away from him, Ramirez saw a figure lean over his body. His eyes closed and he was dead.
Officer Doughtry approached his squad car and patted himself down, searching for the keys. He swore angrily under his breath and turned back to the station. Must have left them in the doc’s office. He trudged down the cold staircase that led to the lab, situated underneath the Police HQ itself. He approached the blue double doors and swung them open.
“Hey doc I think I lef-“
The doctor lay on his back on a gurney, now part of a macabre trio of bodies that were lined up on one side of the lab. Blood had dripped from the gurney into a large pool that had slowly flown across the floor to the drainage grate in the centre of the floor.
Doughtry walked slowly towards the three corpses, his knees weak and shaking, and his brow now awash with sweat. His sidearm was quickly in his hand and he scanned the lab frantically to ensure that the perpetrator of this crime was not still at the scene. But he saw nothing. As the building was underground, there were no windows to escape from; the only light source being a few banks of fluorescent lights that hung a few feet from the ceiling on chains.
The bodies had been completely mutilated. Their eyes had been carefully, almost surgically removed. Their mouths had been delicately carved, a single pristine slit, ear to ear, making all three corpses look as if they were smiling. An agonising bloody smile.
Etched meticulously into the forehead of each disfigured face was one word.
The apartment building was quiet now, save for the slow, repetitive crunch of cereals being masticated pensively. The man finished his cereal and sat the empty bowl down next to the box of Marlon Brand-O’s. He crossed his legs and began to peruse the newspaper. The headline read:
THE SAD MAN KILLER STRIKES AGAIN
DEATH COUNT NOW AT FOURTEEN
And Eric Floc, poor old, sad Eric Floc, smiled.
There is a very subtle hidden 'Easter Egg', if you like, somewhere within this pasta. See if you can discover it! ;)
Leave a message on my talk page if you think you have found it!
Written by CynicalSloth